My left knee is my limiting factor! (Read 714 times)

    I just picked up running last October. Love it. I am now training for my first half marathon, which I will run in about 2 months. My long run is now 7 miles and is increasing by about 1 mile per week. I feel great during and after the run; the one thing that is bothering me is my left knee. It gets pretty sore, especially the longer I run. I'm worried that when I get up to 10-13 miles it may limit me. There isn't anything wrong with it as far as I know. Is there anything that can be done to minimize the wear and tear on the knees? One thing I think helped today - I found that by turning my left foot so that the toes pointed inward a little (or at least they felt that way compared to the way I normally run), the knee felt much better. Does that make any sense? Confused
      I started running in July and did the C25K plan. I graduated from that at started to really run at the beginning of September. I've been having knee pains in my right knee since the beginning of December and I've tried a lot of things, including visiting 2 different doctors, a Sports medicine doctor and a Podiatrist. I've had to abandon a couple of my longer runs because of knee pains. The first doctor took some x-rays and said my patella wasn't tracking properly. From what I can find, that's pretty much "Runner's Knee". The Podiatrist had my try some over-the-counter inserts, but they caused pains in my arches so I stopped using them after just 2 runs. Last week during my 10-mile run, I started to get knee pain again after about 3 miles. I decided to try slowing down and see if it would help (I have to thanks sabershooter for this as I saw he's running some insane mileage at a slower pace than me). Up until that point, I've been running at about a 9:45 min/mile pace. I slowed to about 10:30 min/mile. After another mile, my knee felt a lot better and I was able to run the whole 10 miles. By the end, I didn't have any knee pain at all...but I was sore all over from the long run, but it was a "good" sore :-) As an experiment, I ran all my miles this week at the slower 10:30 pace and while my knee still isn't perfect and as pain free as my left knee, I'm feeling a lot better about it and I think it's getting better. I have another 10-mile run tomorrow which I'll continue to run at the slower pace. We'll see how it goes. At least in my case, maybe I was trying to go too fast too soon. After giving it some serious thought, I decided that I would rather build my mileage right now than try to run faster. I plan to start marathon training in July and will have plenty of time to work on speed. Right now, I want to be running 30 mpw and build to 50 mpw by July and thus, I'll run as slow as I need to in order to get there. I can't see your log so I don't know how many miles per week you're running or at what pace, but maybe you can try and experiment and run a bit slower for a few days, or at least on your next long run.


        I don't think that turning you toes inward is a good idea. When people hurt, they automatically, or in your case consciously, adjust things so that the pain is relieved. You do that for long, though, and then other injuried occur because they were trying to accomadate for that knee. Try just doing one week every month of no long runs, or hard runs, just easy stuff. My shins get sore but they aren't really shin splints and I like to ice and stretch them before/after a run. If you get gel soles or some sort of shock absorber for your shoe, that should take some pressure off too. Hope this helps!
        Kate ;) "The pain of regret is greater than the pain of self discipline."
          I'd say that if your knee gets that sore on your long runs, there *is* something wrong with it. Minor biomechanical issues that aren't a big deal at 3 or 4 miles can be amplified when you're running 10 or 12. I'd say have it checked out now before it becomes a big deal that might keep you out of your race. I agree that you shouldn't run with your foot turned in. Your knee might feel a little better but you'll be opening yourself up for a hip injury or something. I had some knee issues early in my HM training last year. It also felt better if I turned my toe in a bit. I fixed the problem by getting a new pair of shoes that were less stability, more cushion. (I was originally fitted by an idiot. Tongue Found someone who knew what they were doing and got some good shoes.) My doctor also recommended that I take glucosamine and chondroitin. It's made a huge difference for my knees and ankles. I'd check with your doctor if that's something you are interested in. Teresa
            Hi Everyone. Thanks for your great comments and ideas. It's a good point that if my knee hurts there may very well be something wrong with it! I'll definitely talk this over with my doc, look intogetting better-fitted shoes, and running my long runs at a slower pace. It's tough to do that, though, when the rest of me is rarin' to go...but I can't exactly leave my left knee at home when I go for a run, now can I? I'm glad I 'discovered' this website. All of you have been very helpful.
              I'm not sure if anyone is checking this thread again, but I'll try to ask one more question on this topic. I was 'googling' this topic a bit more and found out that a sports doc suggested to someone with a similar knee problem that they wear a 'cho pat knee strap'. It worked for him. Has anyone heard of this? Is this something worth trying?

              Barefoot and happy

                I've heard that cho-pat's work. Never tried them myself. Also, make sure you talk to a real sports doctor. Your typical (out of shape) family doctor will just tell you to stop running. Never take health advice from someone less healthy than yourself. Smile But in my experience, if you're hurting you need to 1) have good shoes 2) fix your form, 3) stop over training. Over-training is defined as any amount of running that makes you hurt (in a bad way). Just because it's possible to go from zero to a half marathon in six months doesn't mean it's a good idea. This board is full of ambitious runners (God bless em!) who are constantly injuring themselves. It's possible to be a lifelong runner and not get hurt. It just takes lots of patience and self-discipline. Also, I actually think you may be on to something with the toe-turning. Lots of people run with their toes pointed out, which is bad. They should be straight ahead, pointing the same direction as your knees. If you normally point out, pointing straight might feel like it's pointing inward. Improving form takes effort, but is very very worth it. One resource that helped me was the book "ChiRunning" by Danny Dreyer.
                Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
                  Thanks. I may try the Cho-pat or something like it. And I'll post here how well it works. Also, two days ago I was fitted for new shoes at a great running store that films your gait, etc. So hopefully that will help. I agree trying to go from nothing to a half marathon in 6 months is pushing it for a 42 year old, and that wasn't my initial intent. I started in Oct 06. My initial intent was to run a 5K in Dec and Mar, and a 10K in July. My 12 year old son was watching me looking on the web for my 2nd 5K in Mar 07. It was then we discovered the inaugural ING Atlanta Marathon was taking place towards the end of March. He was so excited and wanted me to run in it. I told him there was no way. But then I discovered that there was a half-marathon also, and I looked up training plans that could get beginners ready in 12 weeks, which was about how much time I had! So basically the enthusiasm of my 12 year old won me over, which is probably not a great rationale for doing it! But it is nice to have his support and enthusiasm. Well, the knees felt good this morning, so helpfully the new shoes and thinking about pointing my toes forward is helping. I'll definitely check out the book you suggested.
                    I got the idea of thinking about pointing my toes slightly inward from Bob Glover's 1988 version of his book "The New Competitive Runner's Handbook". There is a section entitled "Dr. Weisenfeld's Suggested Treatment for Common Injuries to the Competitive Runner" where, for Runner's knee, it suggests "Try pointing toes slightly inward while running". For what it's worth... Smile